15:58 30 July 2012
Paula Radcliffe, one of England's finest long-distance runners, has sadly ended her Olympic dream following her announcement that she will not be taking part in the 2012 Games.
Despite being a world record holder, Radcliffe has never won an Olympic medal across her five Games appearances.
She was due to take part and was considered an outside bet before her degenerative foot condition returned this June.
Radcliffe stated: "My sport is a beautiful sport. It gives me so much fun and enjoyment. The downside is that it can break your heart and spirit many times over."
She trained for two months at high altitude in Kenya's Rift Valley for a chance to compete at home but as her conditioned worsened, Radcliffe knew it was not to be. She admitted that following a doctor's opinion, she "cried more tears than ever".
The 38-year-old has won the London women’s marathon three times.
While not confirmed, Team GB is now expected to nominate 29-year-old Freya Murray to replace her in the Olympic marathon.
Radcliffe released this heartfelt statement: “From the day when it was announced that London had won the bid, taking part and performing well in the London Olympic Games has been a major goal in my life.
“The goal of a fifth Olympics in my home country, what better? The chance to make amends to myself for bitter disappointments at the previous two Olympics.
“Through a lot of tough times it has kept me fighting, motivated and focused. That is why it hurts so much to finally admit to myself that it isn’t going to happen.
“My sport is a beautiful sport, it gives so much fun and enjoyment, I believe it helps me to be a better person, and I have been very fortunate to experience some great success and have so many beautiful and happy memories.
“However, the downside is that it can break your heart and spirit many times over when your body is simply unable to match what your heart and brain want it to do.”
“As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don’t want to be there below my best. If I can’t be there and give it my best, then I would rather someone else who can do that is able to be there.
“I have been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself. Now is the time to rest totally, give my body chance to recover and assess calmly what can be done and where I go from here.”
While Olympic success may have eluded Radcliffe, she still holds the marathon world record and is often cited as one of the all-time greatest female distance runners.
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